Learn a few words of Papiamento – the locals will love it!

Papiamento is the most widely-spoken language on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Although the exact historical origins of this native language have never been established with linguistic research, the language is derived from Portuguese and African languages, and it has been influenced by several American Indian languages, English, Spanish, and Dutch and French. It is a creole language. The language also plays an important role on the Windward Islands of the Netherlands Antilles – St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, and Saba.

Papiamento is generally considered to be a relatively small language, with a vocabulary that is estimated to be around 35,000 words. This is significantly smaller than the vocabularies of many other languages, such as English, which has a vocabulary of around 170,000 words.

Papiamento and Papiamentu Dialects

Papiamento has two dialects:

Papiamento is spoken mainly on Aruba, and Papiamentu is spoken mainly on Bonaire and Curaçao.

Overall, Aruban Papiamento sounds more Spanish than Papiamentu. Most people on Aruba who speak the language are multilingual, as they are also able to speak English, Dutch, and Spanish.

Papiamento has been the official language of Aruba since 2003.


Try to learn some Papiamento by studying the examples below.

Even if you learn just a few sentences, the locals will appreciate it, guaranteed!

WelcomeBon biní
HelloBon dia
Good morningBon dia
Good afternoonBon tardi
Good eveningBon nochi
Good nightBon nochi
Excuse meDespensa mi
How are you doing?Con ta bai?
How old are you?Kuantu aña bo tin?
What’s your name?Kon yama bo?
My name is…Mi nomber ta…
Very goodMashá bon
Thank you!Danki!
You’re welcomeDi nada
Where are you from?Do unda bo ta?
I am from…Mi ta di…
I am fineMi ta bon
PleasePor fabor
Sweetheart, sweetDushi
Nice to meet youUn plaser di konose bo
Aruba is beautiful!Aruba ta Bunita!
I speak EnglishMi ta papia Ingles
Do you speak English?Bo por papia Ingles?
How do you say … in Papiamento?Con bo ta bisa … den papiamento?
Where can I eat local food?Unda mi por kome kuminda krioyo?
How much does this cost?Cuanto esaki ta costa?
What are the best beaches of Aruba?Kí ta e mehor beaches di Aruba?
Merry Christmas!Bon Pasco!

Aruba Sayings

Like Curaçao and Bonaire, Aruba has a vibrant local culture with its own expressions and proverbs.

Here are a few well-known sayings and expressions used in Aruba:

  1. “Bon bini” – This is a common greeting in Aruba that means “welcome” in the local language.
  2. “Poko poko” – It translates to “little by little” and is often used to encourage patience or to remind someone to take things slowly.
  3. “Sali pa kere” – It means “come to believe” and is used to express surprise or disbelief.
  4. “Un cabuya ta corta dos biaha” – This proverb translates to “a rope cuts twice,” conveying the idea that taking shortcuts can lead to more work or complications in the long run.
  5. “Bo ta masha duro” – It means “you’re very stubborn” and is used to describe someone who is determined or headstrong.
  6. “Cu boca cu mi sa” – It translates to “with my mouth, I know” and is often used to emphasize that someone’s words can be trusted.
  7. “Kabes ta traha otro” – This proverb means “one head makes another,” highlighting the power of collaboration and shared knowledge.
  8. “Masha dushi” – It means “very sweet” and is often used to describe something delightful, such as delicious food or a beautiful view.

These expressions are commonly used in Aruba, and may also be found in other Dutch Caribbean islands or have similarities with Papiamento spoken in Curaçao and Bonaire.